Years ago I made a zero clearance insert and it's been useful ever
since. Today I find I need one for the blade at a slight angle and the
other one won't work. I was going to use the metal one that came with the
saw, but the cast light metal disintegrated when I put it in! I cut out a
new blank, shimmed it up and sanded it until it fit perfectly. But I forget
how I cut the slot in the other one. I can't crank my 10" blade low enough
to clear the 1/2" plywood of the insert. I'm pretty sure I didn't own a
smaller blade the last time I did this, so how did I do it? I own a smaller
blade now (for my skilsaw), but I'll have to check if the arbor will fit.
What obvious thing am I missing?
- Owen -
The only place you ned 0 tolerance is the top of the insert. So,
create a channel (with a router) on what will be the bottom of the
insert, deep enough to clear the saw blade when fully lowered and wide
enough for wiggle room to fit the blade width. Screw the insert in,
start the saw and very slowly raise it and cut through the insert.
The smaller diameter blade is the answer. If you don't have a regular blade
consider using one blade from a stacked dado blade package. A 6 or 7 1/4
inch blade should give you the clearance you need to fit your zero clearance
insert. Then you can set the blade angle and just raise it up through the
insert to make that angled zero clearance cut. Your 10 inch blade may rub a
bit the first time that you use it, so be careful on the first start to be
sure it doesn't jam.
Okay, I used my 7-1/4" blade. The only problem is that it's a thin kerf
blade, and for my immediate needs that turned out not to be any problem at
all. I just made all my cuts using that exact blade.
Now that I've made a slot, I know where to chase it with my router to widen
the underside a bit. This particular insert is not destined to be a zero
clearance insert anyway, now that I think about it. It's just a replacement
for the metal one that shattered, which had a gap to accommodate small
I think when I made my first one I must have clamped it to the surface of
the table saw, over the original insert. It was okay to do that because it
was just a perpendicular cut.
Thanks for the suggestions.
- Owen -
For angled cuts that's the way it should to be ... much safer. Too easy to
forget and bend a blade, or have the blade push upon the insert on start up
and throw is back at you should you raise the blade a bit too high and don't
have a hold down pin installed.
Owen... I did the same thing once and didn't bother with the router, though if
you're skilled with one it might be easier for you..
I just used the wife's dremel and a round burr to widen the bottom 2/3 of the
slot cut by the circular saw blade, then put it back on the TS and cut the rest
of the way through..
On Sat, 10 Nov 2007 08:40:37 -0500, "Owen Lawrence"
There are a lot of ways you can do it, probably the easiest is placing
the new insert in position over the old one, holding it down with
clamps and a caul, then raising the bit into it so that you cut out
enough material so it can be installed and cut the rest of the way.
No, it won't work for an angled cut but then again, raising a blade
into an insert at an angle isn't the best idea to begin with. If I
had to make an insert for angled cuts, I'd start out with the normal
vertical cut, then pare out the excess with a chisel.
I just went through this, Owen...
Since I didn't own a 9" blade, I used my old crapsman wobble dado blade...
I set it at about 5/16" and raised the blade until I was about 1/2 way through,
then swapped blades to my normal 10" one that I use most often and cut the rest
of the way through...
Since you're talking an angle, a wider beginning cut might be better..
The 2 inserts that I bought the first time had starter cuts on the bottoms..
Please remove splinters before emailing
You just have to think this through. If you angle your blade, using
your standard insert, you then cut a section of 1/2" MDF and clamp it
into place. (Don't finish the cut) THAT becomes your zero clearance
for the few cuts you need to make. (If you don't 'get it', don't 'do'
Sorry, I don't get it. Do you mean clamp it into place recessed into the
table in its final destination, or on top of another insert? If I've got a
10" blade then I can't clamp it into the recess because I can't lower the
blade far enough. If I clamp it on top of another insert then the slot will
end up in the wrong position because of the angled blade. Remember, my
"standard insert" went kablooey so I have one less option, too.
- Owen -
This Quick and dirty method comes to mind:
Set the blade at 90, in the lowest position. Set the back if the insert into
the recess and gently pivot the front down onto the spinning blade. It's a
little dicey, but not that tough; just stay out of the throw zone. Secure
your insert in place, then crank your bevel over with the saw running, then
raise you blade.
Although, if I where doing a batch of inserts, I would probably take the
time to set up the router to plunge a stopped dado in the bottom if the
While you're at it, make a half dozen blanks. I ZCI's for: 90, bevels at 45
and 7, 1/2" dado 3.4" dado, 1/4"double-blade tennon cutting and 3/8" double
blade tennon cutting.
Bad things can happen when an offcut is too narrow to be supported by an
insert, The offcut can jam by the blade and/or get kicked back. IME it takes
about twice as long to make 6 ZCI blanks as it does one, so it makes sense
to have them to the vast majority of your cutting scenarios.
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